This bright, light and colorful sloe gin fizz cocktail is easy to make and perfect for so many occasions. It's a lovely balance of sweet, tart and gently fruity. In other words, so easy to enjoy.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we earn from qualifying purchases. See more details in the policy page.
Sloe gin has a bit of a special place in my memories. Aside from being something I enjoyed at friends' houses now and then, it was also part of our wedding. We decided to make a few different favors for people to take home - we found little bottles and filled some with whisky and some with sloe gin. Then we had little bags of tablet (a hard Scottish fudge) for those that didn't drink alcohol (and the kids, of course!)
Between the three, we seemed to have everyone covered and they were that little bit different. Not everyone who we gave sloe gin had tried it before, but it won a few new fans after they tried.
What is sloe gin?
Sloe gin is a liqueur made from gin and sloe berries. Sloe berries, with the botanical name prunus spinosa, are part of the rose family and related to plums. The plant also goes by the name blackthorn and grows wild in hedgerows in many parts of the UK.
For many years, I only ever had sloe gin when a friend or family member made some from foraged berries. I didn't really think to buy it nor noticed it in stores. More recently, though, probably with the increased interest in craft gin and smaller gin producers in the UK, you can find it commercially as well. And thankfully, although it's not common, you can find it in the US too.
As you might guess from the ingredients, it has a lovely fruity flavor. The sweetness level can vary, as can the strength (commercial is generally not as strong as some of the homemade, as you might imagine!). But whatever the variables, pretty much all would be great in this drink.
What is a gin fizz?
A gin fizz is a classic cocktail that first appeared in Jerry Thomas's "Bartender's Guide" in 1876. The drink is made with gin, lemon, simple syrup and soda water.
Over the years, it grew in popularity, especially in many New Orleans bars in the early 20th century. It's a drink with a number of variations, and one well known one, the Ramos fizz, is very much a classic of New Orleans.
In case you think the ingredients sound a little familiar, that may be from another similar drink: the Tom Collins.
What's the difference between a gin fizz and a Tom Collins?
A gin fizz and the Tom Collins cocktail have essentially the same ingredients, but the drinks have a couple, distinct differences.
A Tom Collins is a longer drink served in a tall glass (a Collins glass), over ice. While other ingredients have similar proportions, a Tom Collins has more sparkling water, and sometimes a little more simple syrup. A gin fizz, meanwhile, is shaken with ice to chill it then served straight up.
Now we have that all straightened out, next comes the sloe gin variation! And it, too, has more than one version. And confusingly, it is often served more like a Tom Collins.
Originally, a sloe gin fizz (or purple fizz) was made with grapefruit juice and some egg white. But a common variation doesn't use the egg white and you'll also find variations with lemon rather than grapefruit.
Of course, it's all a matter of taste. And there's no harm in trying all the variations at some point 🙂 Here, though, I've gone with simple, if less traditional, and so have skipped the egg white and used lemon. I like the flavor a little better and it's also something I, for one, much more readily have on hand.
A sloe gin fizz comes together so easily, and has a wonderful balance of flavors. A little sweet, a little tart, fruity and gently sparkling. It's perfect for parties, an evening sipper or whatever excuse you want to pick. So hunt down some sloe gin, mix one up and enjoy.
Try these other easy cocktails:
- Lillet spritz (a light and tasty mix of Lillet, sparkling wine and soda)
- Paper plane cocktail (a tasty combination of whiskey, aperol, amaro and lemon)
- Pomegranate margarita (a bright and sweet-tart twist on the classic)
- Mexican carajillo (a super easy coffee cocktail)
- Plus get more cocktail recipes in the archives.
Sloe gin fizz
- 2 oz sloe gin
- ¾ oz lemon juice freshly squeezed
- ½ oz simple syrup
- 2 oz sparkling water approx (or soda water; can use more/less as you prefer)
- Add some ice to a cocktail shaker and add in the sloe gin, lemon and simple syrup. Cover with the lid and shake well to chill.
- Place a few ice cubes in a Collins (tall) glass and strain the lemon-sloe gin mixture into the glass. Top up with soda/sparkling water and either serve as it is to look slightly more layered, or gently stir to mix first.